Amy in Peru: An Odyssey

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Travellin'... FINALLY!!!

Apologies to those who do check my blog regularly. I have received a few ‘reminders’, so here is my post, complete with pics! Hooray!

PS: The reason I have not posted of late is:

1) I have been traveling
2) Work has been busy
3) I am on facebook and put pictures there. If you don’t have one already, get a profile and add me as a friend and you can check out all my pics! (http://www.facebook.com/)

Trip #1: Lima HO!

The end of March mercifully found me off to Lima for a workshop organized by CUSO. It was on SAS, but frankly I was much more interested in not wearing hats and mittens. A great time, as we stayed at this beautiful retreat with a TON of local and exotic plants. It was beautiful. Here are some pics.















Trip #2: Semana Santa Escape

While I was in Lima, a new cooperant arrived and I spent a bit of time with her showing her around, etc… We got along well and since she had nothing to do for Semana Santa (Easter for all those non-spanish-catholics out there), and after 1 day home was itching to leave again, we made plans and went to Pisco, Ica, Huacachina and Nazca, on the coast south of Lima.

The adventure began as I left Tuesday night on the 12 hour overnight bus to Lima. All was going fine and as usual—wasn’t sleeping really, snoring guy in the seat next to me, the occasional cockroach. But at around 2am, we ran into what looked like a rock slide on the highway. So some guys got out of the bus to help take the rocks off so the bus could pass. But then we noticed everyone else there was throwing rocks ON to the highway. Turns out the miners were protesting and blocking the highway to Lima on one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Sigh! So this protest blocked us for a VERY long time, and the 12 hour bus ride turned into 18…. Ick.

Made it to Lima in the nick of time, and had about 1 hour to get Jessica (the girl I was traveling with) and get our bus to our first destination, Pisco, which perhaps not surprisingly is the birthplace of the national liquor, Pisco. Here is a pic of me enjoying one the night we arrived (along with a creepy guy in the background… sigh)

The next day we took a tour of the Islas de Ballestas and the National Reserve of Paracas. The Islas were AMAZING!! Here are some pics: Covered in bird poop, or guano for those sensitive souls out there, the islands are harvested every seven years and the guano is a big money maker--- great fertilizer apparently. I pity the person who has to do that job though--- holy stink!





















We then got on the bus and went to see the Reserve, which was basically a big and beautiful desert. It was such a contrast from Huancavelica, and really very beautiful in its own right. We enjoyed a nice lunch on the beach with a roving UK traveller, saw lots of pelicans and generally had a nice, warm and beautiful day!

The next morning we got up early and got a car (which we shared with a very nice British couple) and got tour of some pisco wineries on our way to ICA and Hucachina. The first one was quite nice and we got many free samples. A little gross as it was brutally hot, but whatever. It was free pisco. The second one we went to, out tour guide was a total ass--- I will not go into details about what he tried to call me--- so we left in a huffed hurry. I told him off properly though. I love it when people think the little gringa can’t understand Spanish and then I take their heads off… ZING!

After this rather unpleasant experience, and a quick jaunt to a chocolate factory (tejas are the chocolate of choice here--- basically football shaped chocolates with fillings like prune and fig and raisin--- not bad), we all piled into the car and went to Huacachina, which was once a genuine oasis and is now an artificial one maintained for the tourists, in the middle of the desert outside Ica. Frankly, although it is basically for tourists, I loved it. Really relaxed, laid back, and beautiful.

We got there, got something to eat and then got strapped into some dune buggies for some duning and sand boarding. It was AWESOME!! I am not a big extreme sport kind of person. But I have to say I THOROUGHLY enjoyed going down a giant sand dune on my stomach on one of these waxed up sand boards--- I have some wicked bruises (still!) but it was incredible, and as we went at the end of the day we got to see the sun set over the dunes. Beautiful.

After the dunes, we said bye to the British couple and Jess and I got on a bus to Nazca, so we could get up early and grab a plane to see the Nazca lines. It was a bit out of our way, but we figured we were close enough, it would have been a shame not to see them. So after getting woken up SUPER early by a roof full of roosters on the roof of the house beside the hostal (sigh!), we went to the airport place to wait for our flight. 3 hours later (blarg!) we finally got to go up, and again--- amazing! Here are some pics:

(there is a while in there is you look hard....)There was not a whole lot to do in the area, and we wanted to make some headway that day so the next would not be such a long trip back to Lima, so we actually took a bus back to Ica and got a car to Huacachina and stayed overnight there. It was lovely and relaxing and a great way to end our short vacation. Went out for pizza (sweeeeeeeeeeeet….) and had a relaxing breakfast the next morning before getting the bus back to Lima.

I had a bit of time in Lima before heading back to the mountains, so got to get a few things to bring back with me (mmm... blue cheese), though i almost missed my bus as the taxi driver taking me to the bus station ran out of gas.... sigh! Got back to Huancavelica without too much hassle, it was a cold as I remembered, and i am already planning my next exit.

Namely, Leah is coming to visit me in the middle of May!!! HOOORAY!! So i will be taking a week off and we are going to go to Cuzco and Macchu Picchu. I can't wait, and am really looking forward to it!

Also, for those who do not already know, I have officially cut my contract here from 2 years to one, so will be leaving in July/August 2007. Long long story. Let me know if you want to hear about it.

As for work that doesn't suck my soul, I have been giving workshops every wednesday night with a big group of teenagers on themes of peace, the environment, human rights, etc... Then we will be accompanying them as they give presentations about the info they have learned in their schools and communities. I am also giving english classes twice a week, and am putting together a bunch of conflict resolution workshops for teachers, and another set for another NGO for a water dispute in the campo. So things are busy and I feel like when i do leave I will have done a little bit of something. Hopefully.
Anyway, will post again soon, and keep your eyes out for the "Leah comes to Peru" posting at the end of May. Hope all is well with all of you, and keep in touch!

4 Comments:

  • Yeah, I wanna hear the long story?!! What happened for you to cut your contract down to a year? Hope all is well!
    Jennifer

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:58 AM  

  • Holy crap a blog post... I'm shocked. Its been forever.

    By Blogger Lesley, at 5:54 AM  

  • I'm so glad you are able to get out and do a bit of sightseeing while you are there! Good news about ending the contract early.

    Oh, and thanks for getting me totally addicted to facebook!

    By Blogger Keri, at 7:54 AM  

  • hey amy, great pictures! your travels sound lovely, i hope you get to do more...
    and YES, i also want to hear the story about cutting your contract short!! we're leaving PNG at the end of our year at around the same time... perhaps we'll catch up again in Canada sooner than expected!

    Aubrey

    By Blogger Sean + Aubrey, at 12:21 AM  

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